Date published: 
30 June 2020
Media type: 
Transcript
Audience: 
General public

NATALIE BARR:

Victoria has held crisis talks overnight as it tries to get on top of the COVID outbreak that is threatening the rest of the country. The State Government has requested more federal assistance to combat the spike in cases. The Defence Force is already deploying around 200 medical personnel to assist with the current testing blitz. There were 75 new cases yesterday in the fourth-highest daily increase since the pandemic began. Health authorities are resisting suburb-by-suburb lockdowns at this stage, but say it remains an option. For more, I'm joined by Deputy Chief Medical Officer Dr Michael Kidd. Morning to you. So young people make up a third of cases in Victoria. Aren't they getting the message? And how can you get it through?

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look Nat, I think that young people, like all Australians right around the country, have been very proactive in doing all they can to prevent transmission of COVID-19. You're right, about a third of cases that we're seeing that are being reported in Victoria are among young people. Of course, that's proportionate to the population as well. The message needs to be out there for everybody though that we all need to be playing our part, we all need to be doing all we can to stop the spread and particularly, of course, in those local government areas, which are the hotspots in Melbourne this time.

NATALIE BARR:

What's the next step, though? Because anecdotally, a lot of people I speak to say they're sick of this.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Look, we are living in a global pandemic at this time. And we all have to get used to the new normal that is part of our lives as the pandemic continues and obviously, until we have either a vaccine or effective treatments, we do expect outbreaks will continue to occur in different places across Australia. We are not immune from this pandemic as is the rest of the world.

NATALIE BARR:

Is it possible to lockdown specific neighbourhood hotspots, or should restrictions be state-wide?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So my understanding is that the health authorities in Victoria are considering what may be the response. Whether that would be local or state-wide, I don't know. There are obviously challenges in local lockdowns within a very big city. We did, of course, see a lockdown occur in North West Tasmania when we had outbreaks associated with the hospitals there. Obviously, locking down a regional centre is different to locking down suburbs within a very large city. This is a very challenging situation.

NATALIE BARR:

Is it time to consider making it compulsory to wear masks in public?

MICHAEL KIDD:

So that's a very good question. The AHPPC, as you know, has not recommended the use masks in parts of the country where there is not community transmission, unless people feel more comfortable wearing masks in places where physical distancing is not possible, for example, on crowded public transport. However, you're quite right, in the local government areas in Victoria where the hotspots are at the moment, there is community transmission occurring. This obviously will be a consideration for the health authorities in Victoria. If they decide that masks are recommended for people within those areas, then that will be supported by the AHPPC.

NATALIE BARR:

Okay. Dr Michael Kidd, thanks for your time this morning.

MICHAEL KIDD:

Thanks, Nat.

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